Republican legislators in North Carolina curb the powers of the incoming Democratic governor – Dec 16th 2016, 13:34 BY A.M. | ATLANTA

WHEN, last week, Pat McCrory finally admitted defeat in North Carolina’s governor’s contest, belatedly abandoning his graceless demand for a recount, it looked as if Republican efforts to sway the state’s elections had finally been exhausted. A voter-ID rule, and other restrictions passed by Republican legislators, had been thrown out by a federal court that found they targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision”; still, say voting-rights activists, limited opportunities for early voting nevertheless suppressed black turnout in November. Gerrymandering, meanwhile, had already helped to assure Republican supermajorities in the state legislature, which will enable lawmakers to override the veto of Roy Cooper, the new Democratic governor—a reason, some in North Carolina thought, that they might not be too distressed by his victory.

Alas, that view overestimated their maturity. This week state Republicans called an additional special session of the General Assembly, in which they are considering a series of bills to dilute the power of the governorship before Mr Cooper assumes it on January 1st; assuming, as seems plausible, that Mr McCrory, the defeated incumbent, signs the measures into law in the dying days of his tenure. The proposals include a requirement for the governor’s cabinet picks to be approved by the Republican-dominated state Senate (they are currently made at his discretion), plus a broader curb over his appointment powers. The clout of the superintendent of education (unsurprisingly, a Republican) could be boosted at the governor’s expense. Mr Cooper would also lose control of the state election board, which would nominally become bipartisan, its chairmanship alternating between the parties—but serendipitously falling to Republicans in the years in which most elections are held. The court system would be rejigged. Taken together, all this would hamper the governor’s efforts to pursue his agenda, and enhance the ability of statehouse Republicans to advance theirs without his consent. If you can’t beat ‘em, neuter ‘em.

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#BernieMadeMeWhite: No, Bernie Sanders Isn’t Just Winning With White People – Sam Sanders Updated March 29, 20165:03 AM ET Published March 28, 20166:02 PM ET

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders listens to concerns about contaminated water during a community forum at Woodside Church in Flint, Mich.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders listens to concerns about contaminated water during a community forum at Woodside Church in Flint, Mich. — Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders listens to concerns about contaminated water during a community forum at Woodside Church in Flint, Mich.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

On Sunday, after Bernie Sanders’ commanding wins in the Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state Democratic presidential caucuses, Leslie Lee III, an American freelance writer living in Japan, tweeted, “I knew it. I knew if Bernie won Hawaii it would magically become a white state.”

And then he tweeted again: “Ever since I voted for Bernie, I’ve been bingewatching Friends. #BernieMadeMeWhite.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at Mar 29, 2016 3.04

Lee said he wrote that to contradict a narrative he sees playing out in the race for the Democratic nomination.

“There’s always been these articles about how Bernie supporters are basically only white people,” Lee told NPR.

He continued, “Me, myself, and many other POC, people of color, who support Bernie Sanders, feel like we don’t get to be a part of the conversation. We get ignored. We get erased. It’s assumed that the black vote, the Hispanic vote, and everyone is all behind Hillary Clinton and none of us really get Bernie Sanders or like Bernie Sanders.”

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Black lawmakers sprint to Clinton’s aid – By Mike Lillis and Cristina Marcos – 02/10/16 07:28 PM EST

Greg Nash

Black Democrats are closing ranks around Hillary Clinton amid growing fears that Bernie Sanders poses a real threat to her presidential candidacy.

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC this week voted to make its endorsement of Clinton official, and “more than a dozen” CBC members will be storming South Carolina later this month to stump for her ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 Democratic primary, according to CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).

Clinton leads Sanders by a wide margin in the Palmetto State, particularly among black voters. But the Vermont senator’s blowout victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday — combined with his surprisingly close finish in Iowa the week before — has some Clinton supporters concerned that she’s failing to connect with younger voters.

“There are serious concerns that the millennial gap is as wide as it is. And I would hope that over the next day or two they would figure out a strategy to address it,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a CBC member and Clinton backer, said Wednesday.

But an even bigger worry for the Clinton campaign is that the former secretary of State could lose her grip on the black vote, a constituency long seen as a firewall in the primary.

“This might be the scare that the campaign needs,” Thompson said of Clinton’s loss in New Hampshire. “And sometimes it takes a shellacking to get you back to reality.”

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The Clintons’ long history of pandering to young black voters like me – by Victoria M. Massie on January 12, 2016

An African Americans for Hillary rally in October 2015. | Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

An African Americans for Hillary rally in October 2015. | Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sometimes kids just cry. According to my folks, that fact defines my first encounter with a Clinton.

In August 1992, Bill Clinton and Al Gore made a campaign stop in the first city I called home, Cleveland. My dad, who had his own political aspirations, volunteered to work for the local chapter of the Democratic Party. If Clinton was reaching out to the people, my dad was committed to lending a hand. For his service — handing out flyers in City Center — my dad was lucky enough to get a ticket to that day’s campaign event with 3-year-old me tagging along.

We managed to make it to the front of the line. This meant we’d not only get to see Clinton, we’d also meet him. One by one, Clinton made his way down the line, shaking hands with folks who believed he belonged in the White House.

Hillary demonstrates little interest in me beyond my capacity to get her into the Oval Office

When it was my dad’s turn, they exchanged pleasantries. There was a feeling of familiarity, one Clinton expected to share with me. Strapped to my dad’s back, I was cute with nowhere to go, clad in a polka-dot dress, freckle-faced with Afro puffs to match. The only problem was the feelings weren’t mutual. Right as he reached out to lay his hand on my head, I screamed, tears rolling down my face. The next second, Clinton ran away.

Whenever my family retells the story, this is the point where they laugh. Not only was I the crying kid at a campaign stop, but I destroyed a photo opportunity with the person who’d become the 42nd president.

But I turn to this story now not to mourn a moment missed. Rather, I remember it because it feels like history is repeating itself. Two and a half decades later, another Clinton is reaching out to me. This time it’s Hillary, who, through her shameless pandering to black people in her current presidential campaign, demonstrates little interest in me beyond my capacity to get her into the Oval Office.

On the first day of Kwanzaa this past year, Hillary tweeted well wishes from herself and Bill, accompanied by a logo change of her H into a Kwanzaa kinara.

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Black voters aren’t feeling the Bern: Sanders’ problem is bigger than #BlackLivesMatter – TERRELL JERMAINE STARR SUNDAY, SEP 13, 2015 05:00 AM PDT

The Vermont senator is closing the gap on Hillary, but a segment of his party’s base remains unswayed. Here’s why

Black voters aren't feeling the Bern: Sanders' problem is bigger than #BlackLivesMatter
This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetSenator Bernie Sanders continues to pack arenas and often draws standing-room-only crowds as he vies for the Democratic nomination. Though Sanders trails former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in most national polls, he is closing the gap. One poll shows Sanders leading Clinton in Iowa.

Part of the magnetism drawing supporters to the senator is his populist message that includes eliminating economic inequality, challenging oligarchs on Wall Street and advocating for blue-collar workers. Without question, the insurgent nature of his candidacy is igniting excitement in the Democratic base and among many progressive voters who believe a true liberal can win the nomination, and quite possibly, the White House.

There remains one inconvenient dilemma for the Sanders camp: Most black voters have yet to “feel the Bern.”

According to the latest findings from Public Policy Polling, 65 percent of black voters support Clinton while only 14 percent back Sanders. For a man who is heralded as a civil rights veteran by his legion of supporters, that number is not impressive.

In more than a dozen interviews with political strategists, leading black journalists and activists, there is a common acknowledgement that most African-American voters don’t know who the senator is, and that his messaging to this critical voting base has been poorly executed. For many months, the Sanders campaign did little to make inroads with black voters, in person or online. Another problem observers point out is that there is an arrogant and insulting expectation among Sanders’ white liberal supporters that black people should vote for him simply because he is not Hillary Clinton. Others point to him “marching with Dr. King.” Then too, the senator has also bumbled primetime moments from which he has yet to fully recover.

That said, observers believe Sanders can gain the trust of more black voters (but likely not more than Clinton), though many question his personal resolve to do so.

Sanders Media Stumbles and Challenges Connecting With Black Voters

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Blacks to Thad Cochran: You owe us – By ANNA PALMER and LAUREN FRENCH | 6/29/14 5:22 PM EDT

Thad Cochran is pictured. | Getty

Cochran asked for a favor and now his new supporters are plotting how to cash it in. | Getty


Thad Cochran won a primary runoff by turning out the black vote. Now they are asking — what are you going to do for us?

Already the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are talking about what they want Cochran to do. The wish list is fulling up with ideas like maintaining funding for food stamps, beefing up programs that help poor blacks in Mississippi and even supporting the Voting Rights Act.

“Absolutely we have expectations,’’ Rep Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), said in an interview.

(Also on POLITICO: Dems’ best shot in Mississippi)

And while Cochran beat back a tea party challenger by reminding voters, particularly black voters, that he brings home the federal bucks, the policy asks are far more liberal than much of what the moderate Republican has championed in his four decades in office.

But that’s the Washington game. Cochran asked for a favor and now his new supporters are plotting how to cash it in.

“My hat is off to Sen. Cochran for being as desperate as he was, to actually go out and up front got out and ask for those votes,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). ” Those votes were delivered and I’m hopeful he will be responsible and responsive to the voters that pushed him over the top.”

(Also on POLITICO: McDaniel digs in)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) agreed that Cochran has an opportunity to support the black community.

“What I hope happens is that he comes to the realization that African Americans are the reason I have this final six years and therefore I’m going to try and be more responsible than I have been,” Cleaver said.

Their sentiment was echoed around the capitol and in Mississippi following Cochran’s win over tea party favorite Chris McDaniel, fueled by surge in black voters in the Mississippi Delta. Turnout increased overall in Mississippi for the runoff, but counties that are majority black like Jefferson County saw voters came to the polls in record numbers.

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